An Interview with CCS Singer and BSO Violinist Anne Donaldson February 6, 2023

A Birmingham, Alabama native, Anne Donaldson has been singing and playing violin ever since she was little. Currently living in Washington, D.C., Donaldson has been singing with CCS in the Alto 1 section since 2020!

Can you tell us a little bit about your musical background and your involvement with both CCS and the BSO?

Anne Donaldson: I’ve been in the DC area for about 8 years. I sang in choirs a lot when I was a kid, so during the pandemic I decided that I wanted to audition for CCS. So that’s when I started singing with the Cathedral Choral Society, and I loved it! This year, I’m doing a one-year contract with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. I started playing the violin in a school music program, and I was 8 at the time. My parents are both orchestra musicians, so I’ve been around classical music my whole life.

What is the feeling you get or the experience you have when you perform with an orchestra as a singer in CCS?

AD: I just think the orchestra adds so much dimension to our performances. The experience of having that much sound in the room is really cool. I’ve actually played with an orchestra with CCS before, when we did I Have Something to Say last season… I remember telling people in the orchestra, “This is my choir that I’m in.” It made me feel proud that I was in the choir!

What are you looking forward to about performing with CCS in Washington National Cathedral again on the orchestra side?

AD: I think it’ll be interesting to perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. And playing at the Cathedral can be super weird sometimes. The amount of reverberation that there is is kind of wild. I remember during the I Have Something to Say concert we were playing a piece by Fanny Mendelssohn, and it sounded like there was a musical echo, but it was just the literal echo from the back of the church.

I think it’s a challenge to play in there, but I also think it’ll be cool because you don’t usually have people that cross over, who are in the orchestra and who know people in the choir. It will be nice to see people who I know from the choir, so I’m looking forward to the social experience of this concert! And I’m looking forward to playing Rachmaninoff, of course.